Apple's top executive piggybacks on the iPod mini's success and launches a Mac for Windows switchers and an even smaller iPod. Meanwhile, Apple gets ready to replace AppleWorks with the iWork suite.
SAN FRANCISCOApple CEO Steve Jobs is taking the concept of "mini" to the Mac computer and a flash-based iPod.
During his keynote Tuesday at the Macworld conference and expo here, Jobs introduced a Mac computer that almost fit into the palms of his hands and that is Apple Computer Inc.s latest answer for Windows users wanting to switch platforms.
"People understood the iPod mini, and I think theyll understand the Mac mini as well," Jobs said, referring to the 4 GB iPod launched
at last years Macworld.
The Mac mini will be available Jan. 22 in two models that start at $499, Jobs said. It comes without a monitor, keyboard or mouse, instead connecting with a users existing equipment.
"We supply the computer, and you supply the rest," Jobs said. "We want to price this Mac so that people thinking of switching will have no more excuses."
Click here to read more details and specifications about Apples Macworld product launches.
Apple also is making the iPod even smaller than the iPod mini. Jobs launched the iPod shuffle, Apples entry into the flash player market that incorporates its song-shuffling technology.
The iPod shuffle began shipping from factories Tuesday. On one end, it includes a USB 2.0 connector that also can be fitted with a lanyard for wearing it around ones neck.
"It is smaller than most packs of gum, and it weighs about same as about four quarters, or under one ounce," Jobs said.
The iPod shuffle comes in a 512 MB and a 1 GB model, priced at $99 and $149, respectively. Along with digital music, it can double as a USB drive and lets users determine how much memory to devote to each function, Jobs said.
Not everything was about miniaturization during Jobs keynote. He also introduced Apples productivity suite replacement for AppleWorks in a move that could pit Apple more directly against Microsoft Corp.s Office suite for the Mac.
Read more here about the earlier rumors around iWork.
The iWork suite builds atop Apples existing Keynote software for creating presentations by also providing a word processor called Pages. AppleWorks had become outdated because it was developed before the move to Mac OS X and long before Apples digital-media suite, called iLife, existed.
"We created [iWork] from the ground up to take full advantage of Mac OS X and iLife," Jobs said.
iWork is slated for release on Jan. 22, with pricing at $79. It will include Keynote 2, an update that adds 10 new design themes and expanded animation features.
As for Pages, Jobs called it "word processing with an incredible sense of style."
Thats because it not only provides standard word-processing functions but also comes with 40 Apple-designed templates for creating everything from a form letter or brochure to a family newsletter or menu, Jobs said.
In a demonstration, Phil Schiller, Apples vice president of worldwide product marketing, showed how the templates open with placeholder text, graphics and folders and let users grab photos from iPhoto to insert them into documents. The templates also automatically adjust when users add, move or resize elements.
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